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Mushrooms are waiting for their moment in medicine.

Every one of us will receive a handful of messages that change our lives forever. The latest for me came from my mother last September.

“My scan shows the pain in my lower back is because my cancer has spread to my adrenal glands. They are taking me off immunotherapy. I start chemo on Wednesday.”

Time slowed down. I felt dizzy, and cried. I took many deep breaths, went to the gym for hours, smashed weights, and tried to hold it together. Didn’t work. I went home, ate mountains of filthy carbs, and still no reprieve. Didn’t work. I cried. I cried some more. It felt like the end.

My mother was diagnosed with inoperable terminal lung cancer in February 2019. Small cell carcinoma, stage 4. Prognosis: one to two years to live. I thought I would never smile ever again.

Then her oncologist informed us that my mother was a good genetic match for the immunotherapy drug Keytruda, a form of immunotherapy that came out of Nobel Prize-winning research that allows the body to “recognize” cancerous cells, which normally “hide” from the immune system like enemy spaceships behind deflector shields.

Within a month my mother began to gain weight, the color returned to her cheeks, her appetite returned and so did her energy. My own mood boomeranged from despair to optimism, and it seemed she could survive for more than a couple of years. Scans later showed that Keytruda shrank her lung tumour by a whopping 60 percent, an outcome so phenomenal her oncologist clapped his hands in delight.

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